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UFC 144 Undercard Betting – Picks For The Undercard For The UFC’s Return To Japan

Posted by Jack “The Hammer” Howard on 2/20/2012 3:13:44 PM
ufc 144 online betting

Online betting players haven’t seen the UFC in Japan since UFC 29, which was way back in December 2000, and the Japanese fans know their stuff when it comes to mixed martial arts. Here are some previews and picks for the undercard on Saturday night.

What: UFC 144 Betting
When: Saturday, February 25t
Where: Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan

Mark Hunt (7-7) vs. Cheick Kongo (17-6) – Heavyweight

This should be an excellent matchup of two powerful kickboxers, and Hunt may need this more after a disappointing decision win over Ben Rothwell in September as he looked gassed for most of the fight (to be fair, the fight was in the high altitude of Denver). Both men have won two in a row, but Kongo has looked much better and has much more experience. He’ll need to use it to hold off Hunt, who will have a lot of crowd support from his time in Pride.

UFC Betting Pick: Cheick Kongo

Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-4, 2 NC) vs. Jake Shields (26-6-1) – Welterweight

Speaking of guys that need a win, Akiyama has dropped three in a row, while Shields is on a two-fight skid. Akiyama will look to push the pace of the fight and no matter what you think of him, the judo specialist usually has exciting bouts with three “Fight of the Night” honors in four UFC bouts. Shields’ striking has been woeful since coming to the UFC, but to be fair to him, he lost his father weeks before his loss to Jake Ellenberger. Still, with the crowd behind him, give this to Akiyama.

UFC Betting Pick: Yoshihiro Akiyama

Yushin Okami (26-6) vs. Tim Boetsch (14-4) – Middleweight

Okami hasn’t fought since August, when he was destroyed by champion Anderson Silva in a rematch of Okami’s win from January 2006, and he looked completely outclassed, but Silva has a way to making people look bad. Boetsch has won both fights since dropping to middleweight, and he’ll aim to control this fight through wrestling, but Okami will be plenty motivated for this one.

UFC Betting Pick: Yushin Okami

Hatsu Hioki (25-4-2) vs. Bart Palaszewski (36-14) – Featherweight

Both men are coming off victorious debuts in the UFC, although Palaszewski looked much better in a KO of Tyson Griffin in October. Palaszewski is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, as is Hioki, so this match should be interesting if it hits the mat. Standing up, the edge should go to Palaszewski in what should be a fascinating matchup between relatively unknowns, despite having a lot of MMA experience.

UFC Betting Pick: Bart Palaszewski

Anthony Pettis (14-2) vs. Joe Lauzon (21-6) – Lightweight

Pettis, a former WEC champion, needs a win to move back into title contention, but he’ll face a dangerous opponent in Lauzon, who was a massive UFC betting underdog against Melvin Guillard in October, but the purple-belt jiu-jitst artist ended the fight after just 47 seconds. Pettis is also a purple belt, and both are solid strikers. This is a strong contender for “Fight of the Night”, but Lauzon will eke out a victory. 

UFC Betting Pick: Joe Lauzon

Takanori Gomi (32-8, 1 NC) vs. Eiji Mitsouka (18-7-2) – Lightweight

Gomi could be fighting for his UFC career after three losses in four fights, and all three fights have come via submission. That’s not good going up against a submission artist like Mitsouka, who has made 11 opponents tap out, but Mitsouka is also making his debut in the UFC and that has made better fighters than Gomi underperform. For that reason, take Gomi.

UFC Betting Pick: Takanori Gomi

Norifumi Yamamoto (18-5, 1 NC) vs. Vaughan Lee (11-7-1) – Bantamweight

Yamamoto is a very explosive striker, but he has losses in his first two UFC fights, while Lee lost his UFC debut via split decision over Chris Cariaso in November. Lee has gone the distance in just two of his 19 career fights, while Yamamoto may try to extend the fight as long as possible. He’ll then pounce when Lee makes a mistake.

UFC Betting Pick: Norifuni Yamamoto

Riki Fukuda (17-5) vs. Steve Cantwell (7-5) – Middleweight

Fukada controversially lost his UFC debut via decision to Nick Ring last February, then suffered a knee injury and he’ll have to not only combat his opponent, but ring rust as well. Cantwell has lost four straight fights, all by decision, and the former WEC light-heavyweight champion could be facing a pink slip with a loss. he'll have the ring rust to thank for this win over Fukada.

UFC Betting Pick: Steve Cantwell

Takeya Mizugaki (15-6-2) vs. Chris Cariaso (12-3) – Bantamweight

This kicks off the four-fight preliminaries on FX, and these former WEC fighters are both inconsistent and can’t seem to string together a number of wins or losses, but both are coming off wins, so something has to give. Mizugaki and Cariaso both have excellent gas tanks and this looks like a fight that will go all 15 minutes, but the edge has to go to Mizugaki, who is a strong boxer and should do enough to pick Cariaso apart.

UFC Betting Pick: Takeya Mizugaki

Zhang Tiequan (15-2) vs. Issei Tamura (6-2) – Featherweight

Finally, these two will get the show started on Facebook, and Tamura will make his UFC debut after replacing the injured Leonard Garcia. He’ll go up against a true submission artist in Tiequan, who has won 12 times by making his opponent tap. Tamura’s strength is wrestling, but even if he gets Tiequan on the mat, he may not have the experience to stay out of a submission. Tiequan should be your sports betting pick in this match.

UFC Betting Pick: Zhang Tiequan

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